October 2010 Makansutra makan session: Zi Yean Restaurant

This month’s Makansutra dinner session was held at a restaurant I’ve been wanting to visit for a long time. Thanks to the organizers of the monthly Makansutra makan outings (done on a voluntary, non-profit basis), this was yet another successful session filled with great food, wine, and company!

Dinner got off to a great start with an excellent trio of appetizers.

Poached Sakura Chicken

Poached Sakura Chicken

First up was cold-cut drunken chicken. The Shaoxing wine had a subtle briny and savoury depth, which I’m told was due to the addition of prawn paste. Thankfully, the meat didn’t taste too strongly of alcohol. The chicken was firm and succulent due to the use of Sakura chicken (reared without growth hormones and antibiotics).

Roast Pork Belly

Roast Pork Belly

The roast pork belly was decent, with an adequately crisp crackling. It would have been rather forgettable, if not for the piquant jellyfish and pickle that accompanied it.

Fragrant Pumpkin in Salted Egg Yolk

Fragrant Pumpkin in Salted Egg Yolk

This was incredibly fun to munch on! Bits of salted egg yolk underneath the batter contrasted nicely with the sweet cubes of pumpkin.

Francis's special concoction - liver dipping sauce

At our table was Francis of Cafe de Hong Kong, who brought along his unique blend of liver sauce. With a base of sweet bean paste, this creamy and robust dip went very well with the appetizers.

Double-Boiled Four Treasures Soup

Double-Boiled Four Treasures Soup

Each of us got a generous mini pot of this luxurious broth. Thick, juicy Shitake mushroom, sea cucumber, fish maw, and dried scallops in lightly thickened stock – this was utterly rich and comforting!

Crispy Beancurd Skin Wrapped Prawn

Crispy Beancurd Skin Wrapped Prawn

Another crowd-pleaser – fat prawns wrapped in crispy beancurd skin. Reminded me of dim sum-style beancurd roll 腐皮卷, except this came with a whole prawn.

Home-Made Tofu Topped with Dried Bonito

Home-Made Tofu Topped with Dried Bonito

This looks simple, but it was comfort food at its best. The interior beancurd was silky and wobbly, while the exterior soaked up the rich sauce like a sponge. Simply gorgeous!

Zi Yean’s Emperor Chicken Stuffed with Preserved Vegetable

Zi Yean’s Emperor Chicken Stuffed with Preserved Vegetable

Personally, this was the climax of the meal!

The mui choy (preserved vegetable) stuffing

The mui choy (preserved vegetable) stuffing

Gently pry open the bird, and the tender meat falls apart to reveal a stuffing of preserved vegetable beneath the ribs. The sweet-saltish pickle had been braised till soft, and complemented the chicken nicely. Together with that rich, brown gravy, all that’s missing was a bowl of rice. Ok, make that two bowls of rice!

Sauteed French Beans with Dried Shrimp in XO Sauce

Sauteed French Beans with Dried Shrimp in XO Sauce

These slender stalks of French beans were sweet and retained the right amount of crunch without being too raw. I couldn’t detect much of the XO sauce, but I actually preferred it this way.

Hand-Made Seafood Chinese Pasta

Hand-Made Seafood Chinese Pasta

Also known as Cat’s Ears, this kind of rustic homemade fresh pasta is hard to find. The noodles was slightly floury, but what saved this dish was the sweet and refreshing seafood stock.

Tempura Ice Cream

Tempura Ice Cream

Dessert came in the shape of a heart!

My "heart' is broken!

My "heart' is broken!

We were expecting ice cream in light tempura batter, but what we got was chocolate ice cream in a thin crust of bread. We ate our hearts out anyway! 🙂

Once again, thanks to Eslim for organizing this month’s dinner. And it was great meeting new friends and familiar faces again! Till the next session, cheers!

Zi Yean Restaurant
Blk 56 Lengkok Bahru
#01-443
Singapore 150056
Tel: +65 6474 0911 (aircon section) / +65 6471 0253 (non-aircon section)

URL: www.ziyean.com.sg

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Comments

  1. says

    The Emperor Chicken looks absolutely fabulous! Browned, Smooth, with a shiny complexion that makes it appear oh so appealing and tasty, I can imagine what the marriage of flavours would be =)

    Justin

  2. Betty says

    Julia,

    I made my Emperor Chicken with sweet rice stuffing and deboned also. I will try to create a recipe with mui choy for it to try, The ice cream I use filo sheet for it and deep fry it with ice cream inside.